Democrat Alex Sink, who lost to Governor Rick Scott in Florida’s 2010 gubernatorial contest, resurfaced this month at Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg and attacked state legislators for cutting education funding and Governor Scott for taking the steam out of President Obama’s high speed rail proposal in 2011. The Florida Supreme Court upheld Scott’s decision to kill the costly train project that included over $2 billion in federal stimulus money. The debate over how much the project would actually cost to build and maintain verses projected ridership led to Scott’s decision to decline the high speed rail stimulus funding.
Florida faced 12 percent unemployment and a projected budget shortfall of billions of dollars during 2010 when Sink was the state’s chief financial officer under Governor Charlie Crist. Florida’s unemployment rate recently dropped to 9.4 percent under Scott.
Sink told STBC members that Florida’s executive branch and legislators need input from groups like Florida Next, her non-profit think tank, in order to make better budget decisions, according to a Tampa Bay Times article published March 22 posted by Adam Smith.
Sink was caught taking a text message from an advisor during a live debate near the end of her 2010 campaign and lost to Scott, a wealthy political novice, by 1 percentage point. During her recent STCB speech Sink apologized for losing the election, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
While not ruling out another run for governor, Sink suggested Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler as “up-and coming” potential gubernatorial candidates.
Sink reportedly “choked up” when she talked about the racially charged Sanford shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, according to the Times story.
Sink is quoted in the article as saying, “… let me just say that in my opinion if this had been a black man with a gun shooting a young, 17-year-old white boy, there would be no doubt that the shooter would be in jail today,”. Zimmerman’s mother is Hispanic, his father white and Martin is black.
However, Sink seemed to contradict her own opinion when she later stated, “If I were governor I would be out front saying, ‘”We have to stay calm but justice must be done, it will be done. And we’re going to be very aggressive about holding the FDLE accountable for reviewing the Sanford Police Department.’”
Many new and varying facts about the case have trickled out in the media since Sink weighed in with her opinion in mid March, including Zimmerman’s claim that Martin attacked him, broke his nose, banged his head against a sidewalk and went for his (Zimmerman’s) gun.
Most initial accounts suggested an overzealous Zimmerman stalked Martin after racially profiling him and then shot him dead.
The shooting is being investigated by the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and local authorities. At press time, Zimmerman had not been arrested.